It may look like just a tomato, but it's actually everything

21:19, Feb 17 2013

This is a tomato.

This tomato represents so much more than just a piece of fruit. It's what growing your own food is all about. 

I've been admiring the almost glowing-with-good-health tomatoes growing at Dougal's place - he lives next door to my father. Dougal's got lots of different varieties, and he can often be seen leaning over the fence handing some to my dad. Among them was this black cherry. I have yet to quiz Dougal on his tips for growing good tomatoes, because I worry that he will answer something like "I just stuck them in the ground and they grew" which will make me jealous as all get out, but I will ask eventually. And when that conversation takes place, it's that handing down, over and across of knowledge I get a kick out of. 

This tomato may look delicious, but I'm not going to eat it. I'm going to eat its babies instead - next year. It is pregnant with seeds for next year's crop, which will produce seeds for the year after that, and so on and so on. I love that this tomato will live on, possibly years, decades, generations from now. Someone might grow this tomato and pass one over the fence and it lives on in gardens all over the place. One day, maybe everyone will be growing black cherries born of this tomato. the idea blows my mind.

You can't buy this tomato in a supermarket; you might pay a squillion dollars for it at a farmers market if you are lucky enough to live near one, or at one of the fancier grocers. If you want a black cherry, you have to make a miracle happen, you have to grow it yourself. They're that rare and special.

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But the one ingredient that makes this black cherry tomato such a piece of work is that it came from next door, a place we sometimes know nothing about. 

So this afternoon, I'm going to do an amazing thing. I'm going to give my neighbour a tomato. 

What do you share with neighbours from your garden?

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